Jan Myrdal Interviews CPI(Maoist) Leader Ganapathy
Posted by Ka Frank on February 14, 2010
This interview was posted in Sanhati.
In Conversation with Ganapathy, General Secretary of CPI(Maoist)
Jan Myrdal and Gautam Navlakh, January 2010
Far inside the jungles of the Eastern Ghats we met the general secretary of the CPI (Maoists) Ganapathy aka Mupalla Laxman Rao. After welcoming us and inquiring from us whether we, in particular Jan Myrdal, faced any problem having to travel the rough terrain, the interview began. Following is the summary of the interview with him. We have retained the interview in the form in which it was given, read and approved by him with some minor language changes. In particular we draw attention of readers to the General Secretary laying down concisely his party’s stance on the issue of talks in light of the disinformation spread by the Union Minister of Home P Chidambaram that CPI(Maoist) had “scoffed” at the Indian Government’s offer for talks. Indeed he told us:
To put concisely the main demands that the party has placed in front of the government [of India] for any kind of talks are 1) All-out war has to be withdrawn; 2) For any kind of democratic work, the ban on the Party and Mass Organizations have to be lifted; 3) Illegal detention and torture of comrades had to be stopped and they be immediately released. If these demands are met, then the same leaders who are released from jails would lead and represent the Party in the talks.
However, we consider the full text of the interview of importance for all those who want to know more about the policies of the party which the Government of India considers its main internal security threat.
Q: How do you envisage the linking of this struggle with a general struggle in India in terms of class ? Chairman Mao after 1935 took the Long March to Yenan created a base for national level and part of which was the united front with the Chiang Kai-Sheik. Thereby it became the main national power in China. How do you envisage becoming to a national power in India?
A: In China, in which condition Long March to Yenan took place and created a base and a part of it formation of a United Front with Chiang Kai-Sheik for national level is different to our present situation of New Democratic Revolution(NDR) of India. Chinese revolution had took-place in first half of the 20th century. Since then several significant changes have occurred in the world. Those are, firstly emergence of a Socialist Camp and its subsequent down fall, secondly downfall of colonialism and emergence of neocolonialism, thirdly emergence of so-called parliamentary system as the common political system throughout the world, fourthly, a long gap emerged in the revolutionary upsurge after success of revolutions in Vietnam, Kampuchea and Laos in-spite of some upsurges and significant struggles in several countries. If we look into the entire world history, after emergence of working class on the globe, it is confronting with the bourgeoisie class and all other reactionary forces and seized power from them in Paris for a short-while and then in Russian, China and several European countries for a long time and shocked the entire globe. In this trajectory, there were various ups and downs in the World Socialist Revolution but nonetheless the struggle continuous. It is like waves at times and it slowed down, but it never ceased. So we have to see any revolution of a country in the light of historical context.
In relation to our revolution, first of all I would like to introduce our history in a short account to understand the present condition correctly. Our unified Party, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) was formed on 21st September 2004 by merging two Maoist revolutionary streams of India, the Communist Party of India(Marxist Leninst) [CPI (ML)]and Maoist Communist Centre (MCC). Our great beloved fore-founder leaders and teachers, Comrades Charu Mazumdar(CM) and Kanhai Chatterji(KC) who led an ideological and political struggle ceaselessly for a long time against revisionism and modern revisionism of Communist Party of India and CPI(Marxist).
Through this struggle only backbone of the revisionist parties’ had broken down which resulted in a breakthrough in the Indian communist movement. By the result of this great struggle in all spheres by comrade CM and other genuine Maoists, the great Naxalbari armed peasant uprising broke-out like a Spring-Thunder. Then a new history began. Then onwards our two great leaders upheld the red banner of Naxalbari and lead the New Democratic Revolution. The revolutionary movement spread like prairie-fire to almost all parts of the country in a different scale. During this revolutionary course in a short period two Parties, CPI(ML) and MCC were founded on 22nd April 1969 and 20th October 1969 under the direct leadership of comrades CM and KC respectively. Due to several historical reasons we failed to form a unified Maoist Party at that juncture itself. But our basic ideological and political line, path and strategy of the revolution, and several other basic positions on important questions which we confronted at the same time were basically same.
The Indian ruling classes unleashed a reign of terror on all revolutionary movements starting with the Naxalbari armed agrarian uprising. At the end of 1972, after the arrest and martyrdom of comrade CM and even prior to it we lost a large number of leaders and cadres in the hands of the enemy. Due to these loses we suffered a countrywide setback. Prior to the martyrdom of comrade CM, intensive internal political and ideological struggle started against right arch-opportunist clique SNS and others in 1971 itself. Party had disintegrated into several groupings due to our serious tactical mistakes, state terror, severe losses, lack of proper leadership and negative effect of two line struggle within the Communist Party of China. Since 1972 July to 1980 our Party, the CPI(ML) was dominated by several splinters most of them lead by right and left-adventurist leadership and disarray spread over. But on the other side, under the leadership of MCC armed agrarian revolutionary peasant struggle in Kanksha took-place and it suffered a setback in a short period due to state terror but steadily expanded to Bihar, and to some extent to Assam and Tripura.
We uphold basic ideological and political line of a genuine Maoist Party, learned lessons from practice, seriously engaged in the class struggle and firmly stood for correct positions on several ideological and political questions which confronted in the country and international arena. Due to these positions only from CPI(ML) Stream, on 1978 the CPI(ML)-Party Unity(PU) and on 22nd April 1980 CPI(People’s War)(PW) emerged. Due to this only once again we, MCC, PW and PU Parties build armed agrarian revolutionary movement in different parts of the country, particularly Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. We strengthened our Party, revolutionary mass movement and armed struggle considerably in 1980s and 1990s which culminated in the great unity and formation of our new party in September 2004. Since 1977 a large number of genuine Maoist forces had merged and consolidated in the CPI(ML)[PW], MCCI and CPI(ML)-PU and also still this process is continuing to some extent after the formation of the new Party. But in this period most of the right and left Maoist groups had been gradually disintegrated and disappeared and some of the right groups still exist even though they are weak. Still a tiny section of Maoist forces exist but they are suffering from sectarianism for a long time.
We opine that our struggle within the CPI and CPM is an integral part of the great struggle conducted in the International Communist Movement headed by the Communist Party of China under the direct leadership of comrade Mao. We also opine that the internal struggle with in the CPI(ML) which took-place for several years is connected directly or indirectly with the internal struggle of the CPC even before and after Mao’s demise. Modern revisionist Deng clique which usurped power in China damaged much not only to our Party and revolution but also to the world revolution. We firmly stick to Mao Thought and opposed Deng clique and Lin Piao clique. Our experience clearly shows that Indian revolution had influenced a lot with the positive and negative developments of International Communist Movement (ICM).
We, the Indian Maoist Party has traversed through a tortuous path for a long period. After formation of Unified Party, most favorable situation emerged for the advancement of revolution. We lost this good chance between 1969 and 1972. The biggest boon of this merger has been the result of synthesis of over 35 years of experience of Indian revolution. It has given us enriched basic documents in terms of strategy, tactics and policies. Our merger brought about a significant change from two different parties working in distant separate areas or small pockets to a Party with an all India character. Before merger, in-spite of both Parties having CC, there was a serious limitation to them in functioning as Central Bodies with all India perspective. But after merger, our understanding further enriched about the uneven development of the country and uneven development of the revolutionary movement. Now we can plan at an all India level in a better way. It is not at complete but at least the disadvantages have been done away with. A clearer and enriched line has emerged in terms of both India and world context. And other aspect in this advantage, is that it had its effect internationally too. Before this, mostly we could not see this much of international support. But, still it is nascent, nonetheless it had developed. In recent years, we suffered several losses. Despite which we have to think how to avoid this much of losses. But our CC has said that we should avoid mistakes to avoid losses and boldly face the enemy and go ahead.
At present in our country other Maoist Parties are not in a position to provide leadership to the masses due to their right deviationist line and limited strength. The progressive and democratic forces are lacking any revolutionary basic program of action and also at present they are having a limited area of influence. Besides all these limitations no party has people’s armed force to defend. I reiterate that at present no one Party or Organization is capable enough to be a rallying centre for all revolutionary, democratic, progressive and patriotic forces and people.
Hence, at present juncture our Party can play a significant role in rallying all revolutionary, democratic, progressive and patriotic forces and people. Because our party has an all India character, good political militant mass base in several States, a People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) fighting enemy in several States and emerging New Democratic People’s power in Dandkaranya [an area in central India which comprises predominately tribal districts of five states of India namely Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa], Jharkhand and some other parts of India. We have a clear-cut understanding to unify all revolutionary, democratic, progressive, patriotic forces and all oppressed social communities including oppressed nationalities against imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucratic capitalism. Our New Democratic United Front (UF) consists of four democratic classes, i.e. workers, peasants, urban petty-bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie. If we wish to form a strong United Front then it must be under the leadership of proletariat, basing on worker and peasant alliance. If we wish to form a strong United Front then it must be supported and defended by the People’s Army. Without People’s Army people have nothing to achieve or to defend. Hence enemy is seriously trying to eliminate our Party leadership with the aim of destroying a revolutionary and democratic centre of Indian people. So the condition has matured further to rally around one centre and revolution could go ahead under the leadership of the CPI(Maoist).
At the same time, the world economic crisis, the anti-people and pro-imperialist policies of the Indian ruling classes and the rising state repression, infuriated the masses in the country increasing the revolutionary scope now that there is a single revolutionary party. For a long time, since Comrade CM’s martyrdom, India was lacking a single revolutionary platform. Even in the international scenario, there were many cleavages in the Maoist movements. In this particular juncture the emergence of our Party provides new hope to the people.
I want to say that the Party has no illusion about the so called parliamentary system and knows well Indian state’s might as well as we clearly know our limitations and shortcomings, even after unity [formation of Communist Party of India (Maoist)] and the weaknesses of Maoist forces in the country and other countries.
The favorable revolutionary conditions, the widespread bitter class struggle rising in Indian society and the development of the armed struggle are being keenly observed by the enemy who is taking it most seriously. So, no opportunity is being given to these struggles by the Indian ruling classes who are also compradors of imperialism. So immediately in the context of world revolution also putting together the experiences of Philippines, Peru, Nepal, and India, imperialism is most concerned about the development of a bitter class struggle emerging in India. In the present situation of world, if the Maoist revolution in India can advance to a new stage, it will become a grave threat to world capitalist system. That is why imperialism, particularly America has taken these developments seriously.
So, on the one side, there are more favorable conditions for revolution, and on the other side there is enemy’s full onslaught to suppress the revolution. In this situation, our entire plan is to fully utilize the favorable conditions while resisting the enemy which will determine our plan.
In this context, at present, main hurdle in the way of Indian Revolution is the all-out war unleashed by the enemy. This war is principally against Maoist movement but not limited to this movement and aimed enough against all revolutionary, democratic, progressive and patriotic movements and the movements of oppressed communities of our society including oppressed nationalities. At this juncture, all these forces have to think together how to face this mighty enemy and for this how to unite to go ahead.
How can we resolve the problem of all-out war? For resolution of any problem, we have to analyze it deeply to identify the root cause of the problem. Firstly, why this war? Who’s imposing it? On whom it is imposing? What is the nature of this war? How long it continues? Can we accept this war or not? Who should counter it? How to counter it? What is the aim of resistance to war? etc.
This war is meant for destroying the revolution which is gradually emerging as an alternative political power to the existing reactionary political power in the country and plundering massive minerals and other rich natural resources of the vast areas of Adivasi people and other local people from Lalgarh to Surjagarh. They are imposing this war on those who are against this war, i.e. Maoist revolutionaries, Adivasi and local people of the vast forest areas, workers, peasants, urban middle class, small and medium bourgeoisie, Dalit, women, religious minorities and oppressed nationalities, democratic organizations, progressive and patriotic forces who comprise more than 95% of the population. It is completely an unjust war. This war is imposed by the Comprador Bureaucratic Bourgeoisie, Feudal forces of this country and imperialists, particularly America. These are real looters, plunderers, corrupters, blackmailers, hoarders, scamsters, murderers, conspirators, oppressors, suppressers, autocrats, fascists, most reactionaries and number one traitors. These reactionaries plan to continue this war for a long time till they achieve their goal.
Any Maoist, democrat, progressive, patriot, and people will not accept this unjust war imposed by the rulers. People will completely oppose this unjust, most cruel, inhumane and treacherous war. It will be defied by all people of our country and people of world. This unjust war is totally against the interest of the people and the interest of the country. People will unite and counter this unjust war by waging a just war. People will never tolerate any kind of unjust war. In the history of entire class society people never tolerated any kind of unjust war forever but they fought back every unjust war by paying price of their own blood and ultimately won it. Immediate aim of this just war is to defeat the unjust war completely and then advance towards changing present social conditions which are giving scope to unjust wars. If we look at the political developments of the country, this inhumane all-out war is giving a tremendous scope to unite vast masses of people and certainly it will become counter productive to the ruling classes.
After 15th August 1947 we never saw such integration of Indian economy, defense, internal security, polity, culture and entire state with the imperialists, particularly with the US imperialists. Nuclear Deal and several defense deals, glaring interference after terrorist attacks in Mumbai on 26th November 2008 and Union Home Minister Chidambaram’s visit to US and crucial agreements related to internal security are some glaring instances. Due to this significant change the Indian expansionists are playing a crucial role in the South-Asia. The fundamental contradiction between imperialism and Indian people has further sharpened. It will give great scope to unite people against imperialists and fight back imperialism.
From several decades entire Kashmir and North East are under military and paramilitary domination. On the other hand drastic change has been seen in internal security due to role of military in the internal security. Indian army was deployed at the time of historic Telangana armed agrarian revolution (1946-52) and for a short-while [in 1971] in some pockets of West Bengal after great Naxalbari peasant armed uprising of 1966. But today in long term perspective, the Indian army is being reorganized. Under the dictates of global war against terror, three years back Indian army has declared its new policy [Doctrine of Sub-conventional Warfare] to deal with internal security and needs of the modern war with other countries. Under this restructured plan Indian army is training a large number of its forces according to needs of wide-spread counter-insurgency operations. Now onwards Indian army is being used in a vast area of our country against its own people in the name of internal security. If it [Indian Government] is really a people’s government, how can it use its own army against its own people? The Indian state is functioning as an autocratic and fascist rule in the garb of democracy. All the gains that were made by revolutionary and democratic people’s struggles are being challenged by the fascists. But this will also force the vast masses of the people to unite and resist with whatever means to defend and ultimately it will also become counter-productive to the ruling classes.
We must also talk about the current world economic crisis, particularly crisis of US imperialists and other imperialist countries. This crisis is in certain aspects even deeper than the great depression of 1930s. But capitalism does not die on its own without a revolution. Now to come out of this crisis imperialism will try to increase exploitation of working class and middle class of its own countries and increase plunder of third world countries. Multi National Corporations (MNCs) and Comprador Bureaucratic Bourgeoise (CBB), the collaborators of imperialists are concentrated on the large tracts extended from Lalgarh in Bengal to Surjagarh in Maharashtra. To exploit this rich region, primarily Adivasi (tribal) region, state and central governments have signed 100s of MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding). Indiscriminate loot of this region will destroy environment and bring long term ecological changes. The most oppressed community of Indian society, the Adivasis and local people have come under a great threat. Probably for the first time in the world, such huge populations of indigenous people are being threatened. A new situation is being created and with a concrete program these oppressed sections must advance. It is evident that without the emancipation of these people, we cannot advance nor the Indian revolution succeed. Our Party is working on this problem and more and more people will unite and fight back the arch enemies of the Indian people, namely the imperialists, CBB, feudals and fascist state.
People of North Eastern oppressed nationalities and Kashmiri are fighting for their liberation from decades. They have advanced to some extent and faced unprecedented sufferings. But they did not succeed and still they are continuing their fight. While we have had some successes in guerilla warfare, they (oppressed nationalities) see some hope in the Maoists. There is a new hope that if the Maoist revolution advances, it will hasten the national liberation struggles also. In this context, in accordance with MLM (Marxism Leninism and Maoism) the Party had always maintained the position of the right to self-determination including secession of all oppressed nationalities. They (oppressed nationalities) understand this policy and their fight need to be strengthened. This has to be utilized to unite with them and try for a united front. For instance, when the Naga forces were deployed in Chhattisgarh or when the Mizo battalions were placed here, there were some protests in Nagaland and Mizoram respectively by soldiers’ own family members as well as by the democratic people. They said that they oppose the war on people; they don’t want to send their children for suppressing other people. Strategically it is creating a better condition to unite people of all nationalities, workers, peasants, middle class and national capitalists, and the suppression going on everywhere on the people is gradually becoming counter-productive to the rulers itself.
Overall, enemy has declared all-out war on the people in the name of internal security, and in the name of danger from Maoists. We are relatively strong in several rural areas of the country. But at present our forces are weak, we are weak in urban areas, and we are also weak in workers and among petty-bourgeoisie. People’s army too is weak and its weapons are inferior to the enemy. These are our weaknesses in general. To strengthen the people’s army and work in urban areas are some of most important urgent tasks. The Unity Congress of our Party has clearly announced a strategic plan and has given enriched documents for improving in these fields. On the other hand, social contradictions are sharpening very fast. Along with above urgent tasks, our Party is concentrating to unite more and more people. If we succeed in this, we can make a leap in the revolution. We are hopeful about the emergence of a united front. In this new situation, it is one of the foremost tasks of Indian revolution. We strongly feel that it is not only our task but the task of all revolutionary, democratic, progressive forces.
Along with this, contradiction within the enemy classes are sharpening. It can be seen in Nandigram and to some extent in the Lalgarh struggles. We are utilizing this contradiction and it is necessary to utilize everywhere to advance the class struggle. We are also working with other democratic organizations and people and some individuals belonging to ruling classes on different issues of the masses by forming tactical fronts. We and all fighting Parties, Organizations and people have to understand the importance of unity between them and formation of a united front. We are providing impetus to unity of the people and building a strategic united front and tactical fronts. This strategic united front will be between the oppressed people against imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucratic capitalism. In spite of intensification of the contradiction between imperialism and Indian people our country is not attacked by any imperialist country or has not become a direct colony by any other means. So, at present our condition is different from that of China in mid 1930s in which CPC formed an anti-imperialist united front against Japan imperialism.
Q: How would the Party deal with the difficulties in the formation of the united front and along with the objective conditions, what does the party think about the subjective conditions in today’s scenario?
A: Comrades, as the first aspect, Maoist party would like becoming a centre for the people of the country and their development, represent their aspirations. We are representing above 95% of population. There is more favorable objective condition for uniting people and people also want a party that will serve their interests. We are not working for partial reform within the bourgeois and exploitative system. We are fighting for the socio-economic demands of the people as well as for the qualitative change of the very basic structure of the society. If we succeed in clearly explaining it to the people, we will succeed to mobilize and organize them in the war and will win.
Whenever protracted people’s war, as well as national liberation war had been fought, experience shows that without mass base, army, liberated area, people did not succeed in forming a strong united front. In course of revolutionary struggle, forming army and establishing base areas we can form several tactical united fronts and even fragile strategic united front. We have to strive hard to mobilize masses in the war against their enemies and build own army and establish stable base areas and march forward to build a strong united front.
Q: What are the ways and methods to win-over friends?
A: For broadest possible unity, we cannot have sectarian approach towards friends of NDR [new democratic revolution]. At present several forces are lined up against the enemy. We have to let them develop too. In the united front on some issues, there would also be representatives of oppressive classes. We can not expect them join our ranks, which is a long way ahead. Right now we need to firmly stick to our strategic goal, and for that tactically we need to remain flexible.
More clearly, there are two different kinds of United Fronts. One, between people, and the other between people and enemy (a section/group/ persons from enemy classes) using the contradictions among the enemy. Party has to do that. This scope is there to some extent on some issues. We call it the indirect reserves of the revolution which can be used carefully. If we have clear understanding that they are not our class allies, then we would not have right opportunist deviations. We need united fronts of this kind for the success of the revolution. The Indian Left largely, like CPI and CPM, had trailed behind the bourgeoisie and degenerated.
Last aspect is each class has a separate class interest and a world view. The united front in this sense is also a struggle front. But overall if the struggle is against the main enemy, then this struggle becomes secondary, while unity becomes primary. The real issue is how this struggle and unity can be balanced and used effectively. The enemy classes will never side with the people. Even after the seizure of power, struggle will continue within the society for a long time. So, united front and class struggle should continue simultaneously. For that it is an utmost important task is to concentrate on the ideological and political education of the masses. If we can do this successfully, then we can win-over those sections too and allow them to join our ranks. These parties also have people under a corrupt leadership. If we can win-over the people through political and ideological struggle, we can win-over large number of their primary membership. Revolutionary breakthrough is linked to this process. The Chinese and Nepalese Party have developed through leaps and bounds by doing the same. Both the cadre force as well as the army can expand through this politically and ideologically also. If this dialectical relationship between the united front and the political and ideological struggle can be handled carefully, we will succeed in forming a strong united front and isolate the main enemy.
Ideologically the bourgeois class influence can be removed on the basis of the historical lessons of Marxism as a scientific theory. By doing this, we can win-over people and even change their world outlook and transform them with Marxist outlook.
We have talked about our basic understanding of a united front. About the subjective conditions the revolutionary intellectuals and democratic people are aligned in a favorable position for people. But this has to be made practically beneficial. The second question being the fierce repression, how can all this be achieved?
We recognize that we are a small Party still. But our real strength lies in Marxist ideology, the classes it represent, its line and policies. And to achieve united front what are the methods? CBB, landlords and imperialists are the enemy against whom vast masses need to be united on the basis of mass line and class line. If we keep to the interests of the masses and use both the mass line and class line correctly, we will definitely succeed and develop from a small force to a big national force.
Q. But practically how do you do it?
A. I talked about our strength even while we are physically small. I described where our main strength lies. But physical strength is also needed to fight. We need powerful army and strong mass base along with strong Party. This is practically a must. If this is not there, no matter how strong we are ideologically, it would lead to failure. So, we have to grow. For this, while facing the enemy repression, we have to use the correct tactics. In our assessment, enemy is going for all-out war. But it is creating its own trap. If we can understand that and effectively handle our guerilla war, we will succeed.
In practical terms there are two issues. One, Ruling class contradictions: There exist old contradictions in the society and new contradictions that will emerge among the ruling classes that must and should be utilized for the advantage of the people. Not only to defeat enemy and for immediate gains, but for a longer revolutionary purpose, this is required. We should strengthen our mass base and fronts which are the main shields of our power. Comrade Mao said that for developing army and war people are the decisive. We must mobilize the vast masses against the enemy and utilize the contradictions of the enemy to smash them one after another.
Second, while waging guerilla war in Andhra we had a setback; but we have not completely abandoned; nonetheless it is a setback. From Godavari valley (in Andhra Pradesh) to Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand to West Bengal border, we have to intensify and expand guerilla war. Enemy must be resisted by our forces but it must be according to our advantage basing on the concrete situation. At present we have to utilize cleverly the tactics of hit and run basically. We have to develop guerilla war into mobile war and guerilla army into a regular army. We need active involvement of people. Our strength lies in the people. The enemy will strive to limits us to armed confrontation only. And they want to limit us to a limited area. They are dividing our areas into various sections and encircle us. But we can also chase their base camps like honey bees by mobilizing the people. In areas where the enemy camps are located, even in those villages, we have Revolutionary People’s Committees where work is still going on. Hundreds of people built up ponds in complete knowledge of the security forces in the camps.
So as the enemy is splitting our masses, we are also trying to expand our base, and trying to encircle the enemy camps/bases. We have to keep in mind the strategic importance of guerilla war. They are bringing 1 lakh (100,000) soldiers. They have decided to bring and deploy Rashtriya Rifles (a special contingent of Indian army’s counter-insurgency force) from Jammu and Kashmir. But still Lalgarh to Surjagarh means crores (one crore equals ten million) of people. If we succeed in actively mobilizing the masses to fight back the enemy forces, then we can make this very war a basis for revolutionary change. It is definitely a challenge before us but we are confident that there is an advantage in the long run which cannot be achieved in a short period. But unlike what the enemy wants, to finish this in a short period, we want to stretch this war and transform the situation to our advantage favorable to the revolution.
They are trying to limit our area, while we are attempting to expand. They are building Gram Suraksha Samithis to fight so-called anti-socials and thereby doing their best to contain us. But people are inviting us. Even new, less experienced cadres who are meagerly armed are being asked to visit these areas by the people. For example, Sonebhadra in the Orissa, the villages invited us themselves. Then again our plans to expand from Raigad to Nayagad in the form of Operation Ropeway under which the Nayagad Raid was orchestrated enabled us to expand into this area in as little as 8-10 months. So, the Nayagad raid not only had military significance but also political significance as there was strategic reasons behind the raid. Then again Operation Vikas was undertaken to expand into the Manpur (Chattisgarh) area in the plains. And people are inviting us and their confidence is on the high. If we expand in this way, we will grow definitely and expand the guerilla war. If we proceed like this and successfully stretch the war, then in the longer run the political and economic situations are bound to change and under pressure the state will crumble. Presently, the state is willfully spending in military expenses, but as the war stretches and expand in to newer and newer areas, the more it will spend in the longer run it would lead to failure. We are waging our war with this strategic plan.
I already explained the second aspect of this question in my answer to your first question.
Q: Is it possible at this juncture for the Party to be at the centre of United Front? For instance, while working in Delhi where the Party is weak, how does it envisage an united front?
A: It is an utmost important task to keep the Party in the centre of united front. I already answered first aspect of your question in my answer to your first question.
About my second aspect for your question, in Delhi if you could do that it would be easier to work. But that is not the condition today. So, the party after analyzing the situation, decided to keep the party in centre through various other means possible. There are other means – through other Maoist forces, democratic and other progressive forces. And therefore, in places like Delhi, where there is limited scope for the Party directly, we have to work in other ways. Our forces must rise to the occasion, deploy capable forces for united front, identify the most reliable forces and organize a joint understanding at any important place. Different arrangements need to be made. Other democratic, progressive and Maoist forces need to be brought together and in the interim they should be made to lead.
Q: The situation in the early days of the Lalgarh movement was such that intellectuals in large numbers came out in support of the Lalgarh movement. But of late, the intellectuals have had differences in terms of the later stages of the movement, and the focus has been shifted to such issues as opposition to laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). How do you perceive the situation?
A: If I had the latest state committee report, it would have been easier for me to answer this question. But still I would like to say that initially there was lot of support among urban intelligentsia. Now depending upon the enemy’s onslaught and the nature of struggle, it will also lead to changes in reaction to the support base. Some people may also go over to the opposition side of the Lalgarh movement. In Bengal, our influence in the Civil liberty groups and in urban areas is not much strong. We need to do more to develop this. We need to strengthen our work in urban areas. A lot would depend on our work there and the development of Lalgarh movement to a higher stage. There is a lot of difference between working among the basic masses and working among intellectuals as the latter involves several complex factors. In this context, if the intellectuals are united around any issue, even being UAPA, considering that it is not in contradiction to the larger struggle, it would be positive for us. Those who cannot come to directly support the violent phases of the movement can come together in other issues like that. So, demands may change but these must be slogans of the people. And both Lalgarh and new slogans need to be balanced.
I would say that the Party will definitely take positive criticisms from any quarter of people even those who may not agree with our basic line but stood up for people. We welcome criticism from people to rectify our mistakes and strengthen our Party. The movement against UAPA is bound to be used in immediate and long term interest of the people. And in general terms, as such any mobilization in this field in the longer run is not contradictory to the interests of the Party.
Q: Where do you place democracy in the working of the Party? Meaning the right to strike, the right to dissent, and the right to freedom of expression.
A: This is a very important question; however there is no confusion in our Party. We need a new democratic state in which other than CBB, the landlords and imperialists all others will have real or genuine freedom. Other than enemies of the people, for everybody there would be real or genuine democracy. In addition, I may say that while preparing Policy Program of Revolutionary People’s Committees (RPCs)/Jantana Sarkars, we have studied the experience of Graam Raajyaas of historic Telangana armed agrarian revolution, Policy Program of Chinese Soviets, People’s Barrio committees of the Philippines, Revolutionary People’s Committees of Peru, United Revolutionary People’s Councils of Nepal and also studied the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In accordance with above we have all the fundamental rights including that every voter has the right to recall any elected person. Even has the right to bring any one in position of authority who works against interest of the people to court in order to prosecute them.
In terms of the four great freedoms declared by Chairman Mao during the Cultural Revolution, other than the character posters on the wall, all the rest freedoms have been ensured by the Policy Program of the RPC/Janathan Sarkar. As the level of development in the Janatana Sarkar advances we would also follow the freedom for character posters. According to the constitution no physical punishment for political opposition will be allowed, anybody had right to politically differ and even unionize. The Indian state is trying to control dissent and therefore people want revolution. We would not repeat the same mistake. Besides, for any mistakes in prosecution, the person has the right to appeal to the village Revolutionary People’s Committee, to higher levels and even to the Party. For instance, in one of the extension areas, there was an incident where in collusion with the Inspector General of Police, 33 members belonging to two villages became agents of the enemy. In this context our comrades went and handled the issue. While villagers wanted to give capital punishment to the main agent of the police, party interceded to give a chance to that person to realize his mistake.
Q: In a united front, everybody might not join. Some Maoist outfits and democratic organizations can even remain outside. How will you handle that?
A: Those in opposition are people’s enemies and more than 95% of the oppressed people would be against them. But even 5% is a big number in the Indian context. Our Party believes that over the course of the protracted peoples’ war it gives scope to destroy the enemy’s political power both directly as well as culturally as many followers are helped to transform. In China, Madam Sun Yet Sen till the last day was in power, although never a member of the Party. They can stay only as long as they serve people and have support of the people. When socially and politically they will become irrelevant, they will automatically vanish. It is possible for them to win in elections if such parties have support of the people. This provision is there in our policy Program of RPCs too even other persons belonging to other Parties/Organizations can join RPCs if they are voters and they have right to be elected to RPCs. This being our understanding, it has to be practically practiced on ground too. We have to develop this sphere. Nepal had made some advances in this respect.
We give scope to small and medium bourgeoisie to grow with some restrictions so that they may not become anti-people, and black marketing, stock piling and speculating can be controlled. We only restrict big capital of CBB and foreign. For instance in 1998-99 the government had stopped small traders to deal in forest products, so as the Khirjas (local traders) protested we fought for them in a movement, though we stopped usury and have controlled indiscriminate exploitation, we are not stopping products from outside to come in. This is capitalist development of one kind, but we are controlling it. It is needed to develop the people’s economy. If traders did not cooperate, how would we have survived? Under the Janatana Circar, the trade and industry department is handling the small traders so that the bourgeois outside cannot take advantage. So full freedom continues even if there are collaborators attempting to win them over. It is only in life and death context, that physical punishment is allowed. However right now, while facing repression and war, we are in a complex situation which has to be acknowledged.
Q: What is your party’s stance on talks?
A: In general people and Maoist revolutionaries do not want violence or armed confrontation with anybody. In unavoidable condition only they take-up arms and resist their enemies and they are waging liberation war by learning from the history. So, we see this as a war of self-defense. In this context of all-out war, we must recognize that the state of Andhra Pradesh has 130 thousand forces, there are 45 thousand forces in Chhattisgarh (to soon increase this by more than 20 thousand forces), 160 thousand forces in Maharashtra. Thus each state has a police force which is more than the national level forces of many European countries. The most cruel and dangerous special forces have been trained by the state along with various anti-people draconian laws. Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgharh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh along with Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have between them more than 700 to 800 thousand of police forces. Out of this, 250 to 300 thousand police forces are directly engaged against the people. And alongside 100 thousand central paramilitary forces have been deployed in these areas. Here people are combating against a stronger force than the movements in North East and Jammu-Kashmir. This is a brutal and violent repression campaign aimed at the suppression of the political movement of the people, and for exploitation of the minerals.
In this context, if possible we can hope for some respite. Longer the respite is better for people. Democratic work needs this context. But while government is holding automatic gun on one hand, one cannot talk about this. People will keep fighting. While pumping bullets people never drop weapons and people never surrender. All democratic, progressive, patriotic forces need to unite and fight against the all-out war on the people by the central and state governments. To put concisely the main demands that the party has placed in front of the government for any kind of talks are 1. All-out war has to be withdrawn; 2) For any kind of democratic work, the ban on the Party and Mass Organizations have to be lifted; 3) Illegal detention and torture of comrades had to be stopped and immediately released. If these demands are met, then the same leaders who are released from jails would lead and represent the Party in the talks.
Introduction on the Development of our Party
Since Jan Myrdal wrote the book “India Waits” in 1980s in which he talked about the movement there have been several developments in various aspects both political and military. It was since then, that we saw the development of a perspective, taking into account the concrete Indian specificity. There were only few experienced leaders that were left from the days of Com. CM. Many had gone into right deviation, some into left deviation and only few had come here. So, largely it was a new generation, a new youth, and to turn them into experienced cadre, a lot of time had to be invested. When you Jan Myrdal had come here in 1980, the party was still undergoing this problem.
It was only another 6-7 years, that proper leadership would emerge in the context of PW. When JM visited AP in 1980, that time there was only CPI(ML) state committee along with the Tamil Nadu State Committee. There was also a Central Committee but of course only confined to these two states, its scope was limited. The MCC was working in Bengal and Bihar in that period; however in Bengal it was very weak. In the same way PW was working in AP and Tamil Nadu, but in TN it was very weak. It is a retrospective observation of work in these two centers, in these two regions. Com. Kobad Gandhi and some other comrades from Maharashtra later joined PW. In MCC Com. KC started some work including Assam but in a very limited way. Now we have presence in 20 states but the Party is still very weak in many of these areas. So there is an uneven development under the protracted people’s war where according to our strength there are different levels of the movement in different regions. In this context, we must observe the development and the role of a revolutionary party which is important and which I will say.
Comrades, in 1980s the Party was trying to emerge from a setback. It was trying to reorganize and consolidate. On the one side, there was the problem of sectarianism and on the other hand, the mass base was largely lost. So we had to revive every thing both in terms of mass struggle and military. Accordingly, our tactics also changed. At that time it was mainly the anti-feudal struggles and the anti-imperialist propaganda-agitation that had been launched to create an anti-state opinion and open movements in the urban areas.
Previously, under Com. Charu Mazumdar the line had been to disregard mass organizations. Later we rethought and after going through an intense self-critical review, we acknowledged that there were some mistakes in the earlier years and on that basis, in order to advance, we rebuilt the movement. The Self-Critical Review was made in 1974, it was by 1977 August that forces within the party were convinced. And in practice it was reaffirmed by Party AP State Conference in September 1980 that marks the beginning of a new practice.
It was since then, that we saw the development of a perspective, taking into account the concrete Indian specificity. There were only few experienced leadership that were left from the days of Com. CM. Many had gone into right deviation, some into left deviation and only few had come here. So, largely it was a new generation, a new youth, and to turn them into experienced cadre, a lot of time had to be invested. When you had come here, the party was still undergoing this problem. It was only another 6-7 years, that proper leadership would emerge in the context of PW.
First a revolutionary party needs a leadership for understanding national and international conditions, as well as the economic and political conditions to make tactics accordingly. Some of the perspectives that I talked of, in the post-80s period, if we add those experience, we would see that in later years we had made some developments in this sphere of understanding.
Secondly, a revolutionary party needs to organize people and lead class struggle. From the strategic perspective plans were made and spots were selected and some development was made since 1980s in terms of people struggling under leadership of the party which came up as a concrete development.
Thirdly, for a revolutionary party, it is important to organize armed struggle. The CP Reddy group had the name of the CPI(ML) and was part of the PCP under the leadership of SNS. It was only they who had some squads in the Godavari area at that time which you had visited. People’s War had started some armed squads in the shape of peasant squads only then, while they already had 60-70 armed cadres by that time.
Later as we developed class struggle according to the idea of area wise seizure of power, to build people’s army, the PW here and the MCC there started making armed guerilla squads at the levels of 5,7,9,11. Some platoons and guerilla zones thereby emerged. In some areas just before the 2004 merger, even companies emerged. The erstwhile PW had People’s Guerilla Army while MCC had People’s Liberation Guerilla Army. In the merger process we found the PLGA under CPI(Maoist). The next stage is battalions moving progressively towards the formation of PLA. Depending on the basic tenets, we have evolved the higher stages of political and military power and the political power of the people. The vision was there even before the 80s. MCC was also there. But practically it was only achieved in terms of concrete development after the merger.
There are two more developments that I would like to point out. A party which in practice is evolving tactics or policy involving a large mass in its rank and files has to practice involving people in thousands and lakhs (a lakh equals one hundred thousand). In practice, while facing the problem and while rectifying the mistakes there were bitter internal and external struggle. It is only through the process of this bitter ideological and political struggle that we have reached today’s position. After the rectification and review of 70s, the PW had emerged and it had to face grave internal crisis in the form of 1. Sectarianism and dogmatism in the mid-80s, and 2. the hurdle posed by the leadership of Com. Kondapalli Seetharamiah in the beginning of 90s. Then again, the clashes between MCC and PW had been a bitter and unforgettable experience, a black chapter in history. In order to face ideological and political challenges, the party tactically evolved two approaches: discussion and review and struggle. All three times the party emerged successfully from the crisis. The MCC also in the same way emerged from its own internal crisis. A section of it intended to continue the fight, they were also differences pertaining to Maoism and dogmatism through which it emerged successfully. The PU too fought against forces that opposed protracted people’s war and agrarian revolution and emerged successfully. The PW and MCC even at this stage get smaller while the Vinod Mishra and Satya Narain Singh groups get stronger and influential. While VM moved to left opportunism, SNS moved into right opportunism. And in practice, they split and finally faced virtual liquidation with extremely nominal presence today.
Earlier, along with the fight against revisionism we faced the problem of having a line that only talked of seizing state power and that other political questions like the nationality question, the women question, the dalit (untouchables or scheduled castes) question and the question of religious minorities would automatically be addressed. However, later we rectified this stand and merged both immediate slogans and ultimate slogans together. This was a must for the success of NDR and development towards it. While various other ML groups only raised immediate slogans and thereby went into reformism, we for a long time only gave the ultimate slogan. But now, by putting together both immediate and ultimate slogans we move towards better development.
For Party education, there are several Party Magazines at Central, State and District level. Around 25 of them are Party’s. Several others are Mass Organizations’ Magazines, e.g. centrally we are publishing People’s War/Laal Pathaaka, an Ideological and Political Magazine simultaneously in English and Hindi and in other languages; Awami Jung, a Military Magazine in different languages; Maoist Information Bulletin in English. In DK we are publishing following Magazines 1. Prabhath (Hindi, Party Political Magazine) 2. Viyyukka (Ideological and Political Magazine, in Gondi/Koyam) 3. Padiyora Pollo (Military Magazine, Gondi/Koyam) 4. Sangharsharath Mahila (KAMS Magazine, in Hindi) 5. Jhankar (Literary and Cultural Magazine in multi-lingual) At Division/District level in Gondi/Koyam: South Bastar Division: Pituri (Rebellion); West Bastar Division: Midangur (Fireplace); Darbha Division: Moyil Gudrum (Thunder); North and South Divisions of Gadichiroli: Poddhu (Sun); Maad and North Bastar Joint Division: Bhoomkal (Earthquake); East Bastar Division: Bhoomkal Sandesh (Rebellion Message). Other than this the Janatana Sarkar also has made a Magazine called Janatana Raj (People’s State).
There are also study classes that are organized with study notes and syllabus. Political classes are organized at different state levels, some times rectification campaigns are organized for 4-6 months to one year when the history of the Chinese, Philippines and Peru revolutions are discussed for political and ideological training. There are military instructor teams for military schools and Awami Jung as the military magazine of Central Committee.
The Party in the DK area faces the problem of illiteracy and lack of primary education and so we organized the MAS (mobile education) for the purpose of primary academic education of party cadres. Hundreds of cadre have been trained since its beginning. The mass organizations also run academic programs with their own syllabus which is made in consultation with the leadership and committee members.
Introduction on the Development of People’s Army (at present called People’s Liberation Guerilla Army)
I request you refer our central documents for complete picture of our army development in specific conditions of the country and in which international situation it is formed. I request you to give attention on this due to its vitality in any revolution
Introduction on the Development of UF
In terms of mass organizations, we over the years, developed in several fronts including peasant, women, students, youth, civil rights groups, literary and cultural groups, children, nationality, workers, employees and so on. The stronger the party in a state, the larger the organization and the fronts. In the weaker areas there are fewer mass organizations at the state level in accordance with the strength of the party. Right now, the party has mass organizations both at the state and all India level, and the idea is to represent the four-class organizations in accordance with the four-class alliance and other sections too. With the emphasis is being to mass organizations, we presently have 30-40 of them working in various fronts. During by the 80s MCC had few mass organizations working secretly in a limited scope. In AP the peasantry, the students and the literary-cultural sections along with the youth had some influence but now with the development of our understanding different mass organizations from village level to the state level to the all India level exist. In the 9th Congress of the PW it was decided to develop mass organizations and united fronts which would be issue-based and tactical. At some issues even enemy classes and local leaders could come together in immediate and medium terms. These developed further after the merger. So the class struggle needs to be waged at sectional, underground as well as open levels. Legal opportunities needs to be utilized, there are some mass organizations working with MLM general guideline, while there are some that are working under complete cover even with others.
On International Relations
In the 1980s beginning both MCC and PW had been regional in scope, because of which we failed to a large extent in connecting at the larger international movements. However mid-1990s onwards, both Parties and particularly after the formation of the CPI(Maoist) is now playing a role internationally too. We are participating in international debates and sending delegations to international forums though much progress needs to be made in this front. It is nonetheless better than in the 1980s and 1990s. In terms of RIM, MCC had joined it in 2002. The PW however opposed to join in RIM as it believed that it is only after thorough deliberations, understandings and discussions that such an international platform could be evolved in order to avoid a sectarian approach. Therefore the PW did not join the RIM, while MCC went ahead. After merger, though it was decided that whatever the new Party decided would be put to practice. And since then as per the decision of the whole Party, it kept itself out of RIM. We kept outside RIM which by now has become virtually defunct.
It is important for the success of the Indian revolution as an inseparable part of great world socialist revolution to actively defend MLM, fight imperialism and support the class struggle throughout the world and also take the support of the International Maoist Parties/Organizations/Forces, proletariat and people. For this purpose, we maintain fraternal relations with Maoist and anti-imperialist forces. We believe that it is both important to extend help as well as take international help for the success of any revolution but because of the ongoing repression. Overall, I once again say that we stuck to basics of MLM. We invite critical suggestions from any Maoist Party/Organization.
We believe that CPI(Maoist) is a detachment of world proletariat revolution. If it succeeds, we would say one part of the world would succeed – it is not independent. It would work as a part of the world socialist revolution and it is strictly related to the success or failure of the world socialist revolution. More working class struggles in the imperialist/capitalist countries will have a favorable impact on Indian revolution.
Jan Myrdal is a Swedish author, political writer, journalist, and advocate of anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist and popular liberation movements; Gautam Navlakha is the editorial consultant of EPW (Economic and Political Weekly) and also a leading democratic rights activist attached to People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Delhi.